Joel Peterson on how to make the right decisions

In Entrepreneurial Leadership, Joel Peterson focuses on leaders who “demonstrate a particular mind-set and an approach to problem-solving. They are change agents. They are intentional, staying true to their vision and agenda rather than only reacting to day-to-day turbulence…I’ve come to recognize the mind-sets, instincts, and maps [i.e. pathways to success] that differentiate entrepreneurial leaders from other kinds of leaders.”

In one of the chapters, he shares his thoughts about how to make the right decisions. He offers these rules for making tough choices, to each of which I have added a comment.

1. Eliminate the excuse that life isn’t fair. It isn’t. Kick away that crutch.
2. Make good small decisions. Often, they have BIG consequences.
3. Go into decisions expecting they will work out. Henry Ford: “If think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.
4. Own your bad decisions. And don’t repeat them.
5. Don’t let biases drive your choices. Know your unknown unknowns.
6. Follow your instincts, not your emotions.  That’s especially true when reason and emotion are deadlocked but beware of off-the-wall hunches.
7. Don’t make important decisions in haste. But make them when they must be made.
8. Accept that most business decisions have at their core (a) cost-benefit assessments and (b) probabilities associated with an array of potential outcomes. Know what they are.
9. Run the decision through the execution screen. What will happen if it is well-executed?
10. If you make a mistake, correct it. Whenever possible, correct immediately.

All of these are discussed in detail on Pages 120-126.

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Joel Peterson is the chairman of JetBlue Airways and the founding partner of Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based investment management firm. Entrepreneurial Leadership:The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff was published by HarperCollins Leadership (April 2020).



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